In today’s world, many companies have data stored on their machines and servers that is extremely confidential. If you don’t take any precautions, all of the sensitive information you have compiled can be read, replicated, and stolen with ease. Luckily, there have been many innovations in data security over the years, so with the correct security implementations, data cannot so easily be stolen.
One of the key factors in ensuring your data stays safe is proper planning. If your network is compromised and your data is stolen, it would be great if somehow the culprit was not able to read the information. This is possible with data encryption.
Encrypting your data has become a common practice in the professional world, so much so that many companies are required to encrypt their data for compliance reasons. Think of encrypting data like having a secret language only you and one other person speak. You can plainly talk to and understand one another, but to everyone else it seems as though you are just shouting gibberish.
To provide another example, say you created a document which contents were “Encryption is Cool!”. You then had another user try to access this document. Depending on the method of encryption, it would be inaccessible, or the contents will appear as something like “C31M1VwGbDZC2lEzqEZuFsmjTx1KvM/DyMcYzo=”. In order for the user to read the document, you would need to provide them with the encryption key.
With today’s encryption types, it is nearly impossible for someone to decrypt your secured data without a key.
There Are Three Basic Encryption Methods:
Hashing creates a unique, fixed-length signature for a message or data set. Each “hash” is unique to a specific message, so minor changes to that message would be easy to track. Once data is encrypted using hashing, it cannot be reversed or deciphered. Hashing, then, though not technically an encryption method as such, is still useful for proving data hasn’t been tampered with.
• Symmetric methods
Symmetric encryption is also known as private-key cryptography, and is called so because the key used to encrypt and decrypt the message must remain secure, because anyone with access to it can decrypt the data. Using this method, a sender encrypts the data with one key, sends the data (the ciphertext) and then the receiver uses the key to decrypt the data.
• Asymmetric methods
Asymmetric encryption, or public-key cryptography, is different than the previous method because it uses two keys for encryption or decryption (it has the potential to be more secure as such). With this method, a public key is freely available to everyone and is used to encrypt messages, and a different, private key is used by the recipient to decrypt messages.
There are also a few different encryption algorithms to choose from but most widely used are RSA and AES. AES is an encryption type used commonly to keep data secure on the network. RSA on the other hand is commonly used to encrypt data that is stored in a specific location.
Microsoft’s Encrypted File System is usually used with RSA encryption. These encryption types are pretty complex and there are many different levels of encryption for most (256-bit, 1,024-bit, etc…).
Undoubtedly data encryption is quickly becoming more standard in professional infrastructures. Despite how complicated it sounds, encrypting your data isn’t always difficult. A quick Google search will show you just how many different programs there are for encrypting data. Depending on the complexity of your company’s data functions, you could implement a simple encryption method with little interruption to your daily work.
With how evolved cyber-attacks and malicious activities are becoming, data encryption is standard for your network’s security.